Our Family

Our Family

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Many Advantages of Homeschooling

Many people just don't understand why a person would even want to homeschool.  Why would you want to take on such a task when there are people being paid to do that job.  There are many, many reasons people decide to homeschool, and often those reasons may end up changing over time.  A few years ago I took less than 10 minutes and quickly jotted off a list of 20 advantages homeschooling offers, and since that list is still true, I decided to repost it today.

1. We can teach a creation based curriculum.

2. We are allowed to pray and study the Bible.

3. We believe we are walking in obedience to God. ( You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk about them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down , and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:7)

4. We have control over our children's education and everything they are learning.

5. We can individualize our children's education (no assembly line theory, children all learn differently and should be allowed to learn differently)

6. Delight directed learning. We can allow our children to learn through things that they are interested in.

7. Real life learning. We can teach through real, living books, and real life, hands on experiences.

8. Self directed learning. We can teach our kids to go and discover on their own, not just spit out what is told to them.

9. We have the opportunity to get to know our children.

10. We have more time to do things all as a family learning together side by side.

11. We don't have to worry about WHO is teaching our children every day and what kind of personal values they may have.

12. No peer pressure, bullying, or ridicule at home.

13. No school violence. (okay, the children do fight occassionally but I don't have to worry about guns, knives, or bombs.)

14. No drug pressure at home.(unless you count having to encourage a child who doesn't want to take medicine)

15. We have control over who our children spend time with.

16. Our children are able to associate and relate to people of all ages not just members of their own peer group. 

17. I do not have to rush my children out the door every morning.

18. We have freedom to decide our own schedules. (how many hours of school a day, week, when to take vacations, sick days, etc.)

19. We are able to provide better food choices.

20.While eating healthier food choices our children have the opportunity to eat not just to get ushered through the line to find out it is time to go to recess before they even eat one bite.


Just a few of the many reasons I am glad that we homeschool and I could add many more.  I thank God every day that I am able to continue homeschooling my children.  But I was reminded recently about all of the things that are going on in the public schools today and while I am being thankful my children are not part of all of that, I do pray for those students and teachers every day.

Happy Homeschooling!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 9

This week was a bot more normal in our homeschool.  Most of us had a full week of school, but Nick and Alex each had headaches on different days that excused them from part of their school work.  The day Nick had a headache, he fell asleep on the couch and slept almost 3 hours!  When he woke up he felt much better though, so he definitely needed that sleep.

Week 9 in Our Homeschool:

Bible: We are still working on Purposeful Design during our Bible time.  We read one section per day and answer the questions from the study guide orally.  We have one more section to finish up next week.  We are also almost finished with New Testament iWitness and should finish that up this week.  After we finish these two things we will go back to What On Earth Can I Do?  and I am thinking we will start a new read aloud on a missionary.

History:  We completed lessons 16-18 in Mystery of History Vol III on Niccolo Machiavelli and The Prince, Raphael, and Martin Luther and his 95 Theses.  We also did the corresponding mapping assignments, memory cards, and timeline figures.

Science:  We did the notebooking journal assignments for lesson 5 in Exploring Creation With Chemistry and Physics and also two experiments that we did not get to last week.  One of them was an experiment learning about solvents that you needed to make chocolate milk for has been repeated several times this week in our house :)  We also completed another lesson of Fascinating Chemistry.





Spelling: Alex completed Step 18 in AAS Level 4.  Anthony and Christian finished Step 6 in AAS Level 2.  I have never really done spelling with Nick.  He did use a free computer spelling program one year and I tried A Reason For Spelling with him one year, but he has always been a good natural speller so it was just not something I thought was necessary.

Language: Nick was working on Lesson 34 of Visual Latin but did not get it completed because of the afternoon he missed.  Alex is working on lesson 3 of chinese.

Literature/Writing/Grammar-Christian finished up his assignments for Lightning Lit The Hello Goodbye Window.  He wrote a composition on his favorite room in the house.  Anthony finished reading Rickshaw Girl and wrote a composition on how to play a LEGO video game.  Nick and Alex completed Lesson 8 of Fix It! Grammar and for their IEW writing assignment they had to go back to the paragraphs they wrote last week and turn it into a composition adding a topic sentence and a closing clincher.

Math: Alex finished lesson 9 of Delta.  Nick is working on Lesson 9 of Pre-Algebra.  Christian finished Lesson 8 of Beta and Anthony finished Lesson 8 of Gamma.  When Anthony was rearranging the MUS blocks the other day, he noticed something that I had never even noticed before.  He noticed that the colors of the blocks coordinate with the colors of the covers of the books in order.  For example the one block is green and so is the 1st grade book, Alpha.  The 2 block is orange and so is the 2nd book, Beta.  The 3 block is pink and so is the 3rd book, Gamma, and so on up to the 10 block which is dark blue just like the Algebra 2 book.  See how much kids notice!

My Father's World Creation From A to Z

We are working on the apple unit.  This week we have been reading a Johnny Appleseed poem, continuing to work on counting to 100 and our calender page, and completed  worksheets on the Letter A and number 4, finding words that begin with a, matching color and number on a grid, drawing pictures that start with a, and gluing the correct beginning letter to the corresponding picture.  She also made a letter a out of scraps of paper, made an apple graph, apple decoration, applesauce, an apple tree, and apple pie.  Our book this week was How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World.

When I bought My Father's World, I did not buy the literature pack that went along with it.  I was hoping i could find most of what I needed at the library, but our library is very small and the first week I was very frustrated that not only could I not find what I needed, I couldn't even find anything close.  So I took a look at the list of 26 recommended books that are sold in the literature pack (Which is around $120) and checked off the ones I already had.  Then I went to amazon and put the others in my shopping cart which added up to around $70.  I sold some curriculum I no longer needed, and then bought the rest of the books.  I am so glad I did too!  Now I do not have to worry about trying to find them or substitute them and they are great books.  Plus I will have them all to hopefully use with Emelia in a few years.








Other Activities this Week:

Soccer was cancelled on Monday because of rain, but that actually made it easier for me to attend a homeschool meeting.  Tuesday we had gymnastics and soccer.  Thursday we had soccer.  Friday we had shop class.

Our baby rabbits are doing very well.  They opened their eyes on Monday so the children finally got a chance to hold them.  Today they jumped out of their nesting box for the first time and we got them all out of the cage to explore for awhile.












The children have really wanted new fish for their fish tank for awhile, so we grabbed a few of those this week too.  They picked catfish, angel fish, and sword tail fish.

I hope you had a great week in your homeschool!

Friday, October 17, 2014

October Homeschool Shop Class

One of the homeschool families in the area has started teaching a once a month shop class for children ages 5 and up.  Each month they learn about a different topic and then make a project to go along with the topic.  The cost is $5 per child and the class lasts 1-2 hours.

Last month, the topic was plumbing and they got to make slingshots out of PVC pipes.





This month, the topic was electricity.  After going over some of the things they learned last month, the children learned about amp, volts, and watts.  The also learned about ground and why it is not safe to be outside when there is lightning.  They also learned about series and parallel circuits.



Then each child got to make a lemon powered clock.











They worked!  But we could not get them to keep the correct time.

After we were finished there was time to play outside a bit.








Thursday, October 16, 2014

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Apologia Educational Ministries (iWitness Books)

Apologia Review
Apologia Educational Ministries is well known in the homeschooling world for it's award winning homeschool science, but they also carry a wide variety of books to help and encourage the homeschol parent, and books on apologetics as well.   I have had an opportunity to review several materials from Apologia, and buy many others.  As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we recently had an opportunity to use and review a new apologetics series: iWitness Biblical Archaeology, New Testament iWitness,and Old Testament iWitness from Apologia Educational Ministries. 

The iWitness series of books are paperback books with a reading level of 11 years old and higher, although younger children with an advanced vocabulary would be able to read them on their own or enjoy listening as someone else reads to them.  The series of books is designed as a stack of documents to allow the reader to follow a logical trail, thinking through the information to come to a conclusion about what has been presented to them.  The books present scholarly information in short chunks and by using many visuals to break up the text, making it more interesting for the reader.  


The books are designed to allow the reader to come up with their own conclusions rather then have the answers simply given to them.  The books will tackle topics many Christians have questions about or are ones they get challenged on.

The Old Testament iWitness covers questions such as: Who wrote the books of the Old Testament?  How were the books collected and decided whether or not to be included?  How do we know the copies are accurate?  How is the Old Testament different from the Hebrew Bible? 


The New Testamen iWitness covers questions such as: What was the criteria for being included? Were there other books? Who wrote the New Testament?  How was it copied? How do we know it is accurate?


iWitness Biblical Archaeology shows many of the discoveries archaeologists have made that shows evidence of events and people in the Bible are true.  The Bible contains many historical events that we should be able to find artifacts for. This book takes you to the sites and allows you to see and read about some of the most important findings.


You can purchase the books for $14 each.


I had thought when I found out we were reviewing these books that I would read them myself and then let my two older boys (10 and 12) read them.  But, I decided that my two younger boys (9 and 7) could enjoy them as well , so I did them as a read aloud.  We read 1-2 sections each day during our Bible time over the last several weeks starting with iWitness Biblical Archaeology then moving on to Old Testament iWitness and finishing up with New Testament iWitness. 

The iWitness books present a lot of information to the reader, but they do it in a way that is broken up and easily understandable.  We learned many things that we never knew before.  I love the visual effects in the book.  They are many beautiful illustrations and photographs.  The size of the books surprised me because I was picturing them in my mind to be bigger and thicker, but they are the perfect size to take along with you somewhere and are packed full of information without the reader being intimidated because the book is too big.  Our favorite was iWitness Biblical Archaeology.  It is full  of interesting Biblical artifact information and photos.  The children loved seeing what we were reading about.  These books are not just good for children, but adults as well.
To see what my Crew Mates had to say, click on the banner below.
Click to read Crew Reviews

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Favorite Recipes: 1 Hour Homemade Bread


I almost didn't post the picture because I do not think that my bread looked as good as the photo of the one that I found!  But it tasted really good and I wanted to share the recipe, and not every loaf of bread is going to be picture perfect.

Homemade bread is really good, but most of the time, people are just too busy to take the time to make it.  I saw this recipe the other day (her bread is much prettier) and had a chance to try it tonight. It takes one hour from start to finish and makes two loaves of bread.

5 1/4 cups of bread flour (I did not have bread flour and used all purpose but I think bread flour would work better)
2-4 TBSP sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 TBSP yeast (the recipe called for saf instant I did not use this brand)
1 1/2 TBSP oil
2 cups warm water

Put dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and combine.  I use a Kitchenaid Mixer with the dough hook.  Add wet ingredients.  The dough is supposed to be sticky.  If it looks dry try adding more water.  Mix for 5 minutes.  Spray kneading surface with cooking spray and knead briefly until smooth.  Divide dough in half and shape into loaves.  Spray your baking sheet with cooking spray and place dough on it.  I used a Pampered Chef stone.  Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise 25 minutes.  In the meantime preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Use a sharp knife to make three slashes across the bread 1/4 in deep.  Put in the oven to bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

This was so easy and tasted really good.  My crew finished off both loaves with supper tonight.



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Review: Your Bible Story Hour

*this post contains affiliate links





I recently had an opportunity to review Your Bible Story Hour Album 1 from Compass Classroom.


Your Bible Story Hour, was originally broadcast as a radio show and now been made available from Compass Classroom as  mP3 digital downloads.  The stories are audio dramas complete with sound effects, music, and two narrators named Aunt Sue and Uncle Dan. These stories are recommended for elementary and middle school children along with their parents.  Younger siblings may enjoy listening as well although some of the stories may be intense for younger children and should be previewed by parents first. There are 7 different albums in the series:

Album 1 goes from Genesis 1-Exodus 14 ($32)
Album 2 goes from Exodus 15 to I Samuel 25 ($32)
Album 3 goes from 1 Samuel 23 to Esther 5 ($32)
Album 4 goes from Esther 5 to John 6 ($32)
Album 5 goes from Esther 6 to Acts 25 ($32)
The Life of Jesus covers Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John ($34)
Acts of the Apostles covers the book of Acts and other stories of the early church ($26)

My review will focus on Album 1.

The albums are available to purchase as a digital download in mP3 format.  You simply download the zip file to your computer and extract the files.  From there you can play on your computer using any player you have installed that can play mP3 files (I use Windows Media Player.)  You could also burn them to a CD if you wanted to play them on something besides your computer.

On Album One there are 24 different stories with each story being around 30 minutes long.  Each story tells you where you can find it in the Bible if you would like to have your children read it before or after listening to the story to compare the Bible with the audio drama.

In Album One you will find:

1. Adam and Eve - Story of Creation
 2. Cain and Abel and The Man Who Believed What God Said (Noah Part 1)
 3. The Man Who Believed What God Said (Noah Part 2)
 4. The Temple Tower
 5. The Call of Abraham
 6. The Three Strangers
 7. Sodom
 8. The Supreme Test
 9. The Strange Romance
 10. The Unlike Twins
 11. The Cheating Twin Cheated
 12. The Mystery of the Disappearing Idols
 13. The Case of the Wrestling Twin
 14. The Coat Of Many Colors
 15. Mrs. Potiphar and the Dungeon
 16. The King's Butler and the King's Baker
 17. The King and the Slave
 18. The Unreasonable Prime Minister
 19. The Governor's Mysterious Feast
 20. The Long Delayed Reunion
 21. A Deliverer is Born
 22. Moses Fulfills His Destiny
 23. The King with the Heart of Stone
 24. Miracles by the Sea

You can download two free episodes here.


I was very excited when I saw that Compass Classroom was selling Your Bible Story Hour. I had heard great things about this series.  We love audio books, and listening to audio dramas can be a great way to bring Bible stories to life for young children.  I was very glad to see that these Bible stories didn't just cover the old or new testament, but both.  The dramatizations are very good.  The actors do a great job as well as the music and sound effects creating a picture of the story in your mind.

With stories like this, you expect a bit of artistic license.  We don't know exactly what the people's thoughts and exact words were apart from what the Bible tells us so often there will be parts that don't stay exact to the Bible because details are added in.  There are times in the audio drama where the narrators even remind those listening that these are the things the characters may have said or done.  Compass Classroom says this," Any concerns we had about taking too much liberty with the text were allievated by comments inside each story by the narrators explaining that some characters have been added that were not in the original stories, but who would have had counterparts in history. " But, I feel that the artistic license goes too far at times, especially when it changes what the Bible tells us.  One example of this is in the very first story of Adam and Eve.  The way the story is told, God himself doesn't actually interact with Adam and Eve but some kind of other being tells Adam about God, his Creator, which I assume to be an angel.  There are other things as well that I feel go beyond a little artistic license that makes me hesitate to give a recommendation on these.  But, that is something each family would have to decide on their own.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this product for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC regulations.

*links in this post are my affiliate links.  I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually use and can recommend! (see my above note about my personal lack of recommendation on this particular product.)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 8

This week didn't exactly go as planned.  I had laryngitis for a few days.  The mornings seemed to be ok, but as the day progressed I had less and less of a voice, so we did not get everything done as I had planned.  Then there were some extra things that I wanted to get done too.  Saturday was supposed to be a rainy day so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to finish up our lapbooks on animal classification, work on a Lego WeDo lesson, make playdough with the girls, and do a few science experiments.  But, I had a terrible headache and instead of doing all of those things, I did pretty much nothing all day long.  There will be other opportunities to do all of those things another day.

So what did we get done this week?

Week 8 in our Homeschool

Bible:  We are taking a break from What on Earth Can I Do? and instead reading from Purposeful Design, a new review we are working on by Jay Schabacker.  We are also using the coordinating study guide.  This week we read through the introduction, chapter one, and chapter two.  We also are still reading through iWitness Old Testament from Apologia.

History: We completed Lessons 13-15 in Mystery of History Vol III on Michelangelo, Artists of the Northern Renaissance, and Erasmus writing In Praise of Folly.  We completed the corresponding Memory Cards and Timeline Figures.  By the way, I was pleasantly surprised that the boys recognized the artists names we were studying and even remembered some of their artwork.  They do pay attention to those random art appreciation paintings I have around the house :)

Science: We finished up reading Chapter 5 in Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics.  Several of the experiments were ones that we have already done like making butter and color changing milk.  A few we will do this week since we didn't get to on Saturday.  We also did another Fascinating Chemistry lesson for a review we are working on.

One of the experiments we did get to though.  Learning about homogeneous mixtures by making chocolate chip cookies.  The girls we more than willing to bake the cookies.  The boys were more than willing to eat them!

Spelling:  Alex got out of spelling all week long because of my voice, and instead of doing an new spelling lesson I had Anthony and Christian read aloud to me from their AAR Level 2 reader.

Literature/Writing/Grammar- Christian is reading The Hello, Goodbye Window this week in literature.  We will be finishing it up next week because we missed two days and he has not been able to start his paper yet about his favorite place in the house.  I had never read the Hello Goodbye Window before.  It is a really cute story.  Anthony is still reading Rickshaw Girl.  We are on week 4 of Lightning Literature Grade 3.  He too will be continuing on week 4 next week since we missed two days this week.  The paper he is working on is an instructional paper.  Nick and Alex completed Lesson 7 of Fix It! Grammar and Lesson 6 of IEW Medieval History Writing Lessons.

Language: Nick completed Lesson 33 of Visual Latin 2 and Alex completed Lesson 2 of Chinese.

Math: Each child completed another week of Math U See.  One thing that has absolutely amazed me is how much easier multiplication is for Anthony than addition and subtraction was.  That is definitely a good thing!


My Father's World Creation From A to Z

We finished up with the unit on leaves this week.  We took our leaves out of the plant press, laminated them, and put them in their folders.  One of her worksheets was to draw pictures of things starting with the letter "L."  She built things with her math rods that start with "L."  We read Caps for Sale for our literature book and counted leaves in the book.  We did not do our regular school work on Wednesday since we went to Grandview.  Thursday we started the unit on A and apples.

Other Activities this week:

We had soccer Monday night and Thursday night.  The older boys only have a few games left until the tournament.  Christian will be playing until the end of the month.  Lily had gymnastics on Tuesday.  She is doing really well and picking up on new things very quickly!  She has a great time at gymnastics.

Wednesday we went to Grandview for our once a month Science/Art Co-op.  We had a great time!

Friday we had to go grocery shopping and we were finally for the first time this school year able to meet some friends at the park to play.  We used to go every Friday for years, and the children have really been missing it.






Chelsea was there too, but the picture I took of her did not turn out good so she asked me not to post it.

Our kitten made out well at the vet on Monday and he has been doing much better.  They seem to be adjusting to our house just fine and are very happy as long as they are together.

All 8 baby bunnies are doing great!  Olaf is doing a great job caring for her babies.  They are now 10 days old and are getting really big!  They are growing fur and should be opening their eyes soon.


I hope you had a great week in your homeschool!